Kate Bush has a new album out and that doesn't happen often (it's been a once-per-decade pace since the 90s), so this was a pretty good excuse to enter the YouTube wormhole that is Kate Bush covers. Who really knows why her songs are so cover-able. One might suggest that not only is Hounds of Love material timeless, but the air around the artist herself remains undoubtedly cool—and as Pitchfork columnist Mark Richardson recently pointed out in this fascinating piece about the "Tumblr-ization of Indie", look no further than 2011's surplus of takes on Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game", to see that in a way, covers make a desired association with certain sounds, vibes, or eras that artists treasure. With that in mind, we've gathered some recent tributes, classic wins, and also linked-out to a few amusing and/or unfortunate happenings.
Let's begin with the most obvious choice, 1985 hit "Running Up That Hill", as its infectious melody is now mythic in reach. Fellow songstress Tori Amos made it a staple of her live set, UK's Placebo rendered probably the most successful rendition of it in 2003; it's been R&B-ed by MPHO, rapped by John Forté, new-aged by Theo Bleckman, power-chorded by Within Temptation, goth-rocked by Icon and The Black Roses, dark-waved by Faith And The Muse, parodied by comedian Alan Partridge, piano-ed by Little Boots, silenced by Romania's Serena, and webcam-ed by too many fans to mention. But who did it best? Answer: Italo Disco revivalists Chromatics, on 2007's Night Drive, their synth-ode to the post-club ride home (fan video above). With a sleek and minimal, melancholic tone, the track managed to tell a different story, while turning a new generation onto the original.
Before his debut Gemini won 2010 using 1980s pastels, Jack Tatum aka Wild Nothing rose to blog-fame on a few promising previews, and among them was this version of Bush's "Cloudbusting", which might as well have been his mission statement. He'd go on to cite Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Shop Assistants, and the Smiths as sonic inspirations, and this faithful homage to another one of his idols makes perfect sense in that list. The fan-made clip above matches Tatum's atmospherics with a scene from 1982 cinematic wonder Koyaanisqatsi.
Sometimes the best covers are the drastic ones. From the first 'oh ohs' of this "Hounds of Love" rework from English post-punk band The Futureheads, it's clear that we aren't anywhere near the misty lake scene Ms. Bush had painted. The charged, harmonized anthem broke through on their 2004 debut and instantly became a live fan favorite due to its near-A capella treatment. And it was recently given new life last year with an inclusion in the Rock Band video game series.
Earlier this year, rising LA noise-pop specialist Aria Jalali aka Railcars went one giant, warped step further: he covered the entire Side One of Bush's 1985 masterpiece. His re-imagining of those five standouts is such a severe stylistic departure that they demand close, headphone-aided study, and straight-up respect for being such a gutsy and brilliant move. The release is pay-what-you-want status at Crash Symbols' bandcamp.